Coffee Lover’s Brainstorm Time: Can You Make Coffee With Milk Instead of Water?

Can you make coffee with milk? Yes, you can make coffee with milk instead of water. In fact, most coffee drinkers use milk or cream instead of water to make coffee. The type of milk you use will affect the flavor and texture of your coffee. For example, using whole milk will produce a richer, creamier cup of coffee than using skim milk. You can also use flavored milk such as almond milk or coconut milk to change the flavor profile of your coffee.

Coffee and milk go hand-in-hand from 17th century Vienna. A Polish man named Franz George Kolschitzky who owned a café in that city introduced this simple idea to men. And now, we can say, “the rest is history”. Whether it’s non-dairy or dairy you like, there’s no reason nowadays to hold back the combination of coffee and milk. And there are lots of varieties you can pick from.

Most of us are familiar with adding milk to our coffee. But after the brewing. This tried and tested formula tastes magical. Hence, this leads us to wonder, can we brew coffee in milk, to begin with?

Can You Brew Coffee With Milk?

When contemplating different coffee-based drinks, there seems to be one common divisor in drinks other than black coffee – milk. Milk is the most common incorporation of coffee. It is used to tone down the bitterness of coffee and offer a creamy texture. So we’ve always wondered if using milk to brew coffee is credible.

It is possible to brew coffee purely with milk. But it’s not always advisable. Because it will produce a less strong cup of coffee. Also, cause issues such as curdling milk or clogging up your coffee maker. If you want to apply this formula, the safest way is, to use a French press and slowly warm the milk.

While this may seem daunting, this can make you a quite nice, creamy, and velvet-textured coffee. Please try to comprehend each step before attempting this endeavor though. To help you so, we have outlined a process for brewing with milk. Let’s dive in!

Hot Brewing Coffee With Milk Explained

The Process Of Brewing Hot Coffee With Milk

Brewing coffee with just milk is something we’ve only done on some rare occasions. We do not suggest that you should do it frequently either. Although we’ve found it truly an enjoyable experience. One of the favorite ways to have this is as an evening drink, just like hot chocolate.

Brewing coffee with milk is worth a try at least once. To try this out for yourself, follow our simple steps below.

Heating Up The Milk

Most coffee experts agree that the optimal brew temperature is 190 – 205 degrees Fahrenheit (88 – 96 degrees Celsius). Unfortunately, milk is prone to curdling and burning. Because of the sugars and fat within it. Still, the usage of milk is desirable considering it reduces the acidity of the coffee. Adds sweetness to the coffee also which you might be looking for too.

With that being said, there are 2 main ways we suggest heating the milk up to the correct temperature without boiling.

  • Similar to preparing hot chocolate, you can heat up the milk by putting it in a microwave. We suggest using a pyrex. Remove and stir every 20 – 40 seconds to avoid curdling
  • You can heat it up in a saucepan, at a low temperature while stirring frequently

With either of those options, you are going for a steady and slow increase in heat. It will not distort or disrupt the milk’s contents or separate its different components. After all, you need your coffee to come out silky-smooth and not chunky. Even the mere thought of that should leave a distaste in your mouth.

Brewing The Coffee

Whilst we have heard and seen folks struggle to properly heat up their milk, brewing the coffee is what should be the most difficult role here.

Milk seems to cool down way faster. Also, it steeps slower than normal brews. So, to create the right balance, a considerable approach is using a French press.

Once the milk is heated to the optimum temperature, you can pour it into your French press. The usual amount of time for the coffee to steep inside a French press is around 4 minutes. We recommend upping the number of your coffee grounds and if possible doing slightly less. Because the milk will cool down fast.

Composition and temperature-wise, water-brewed coffee last longer than milk-brewed coffee.

Once it is done, almost immediately you will be able to pour and enjoy. As the cooling largely takes place during the brewing. For the short life of the milk-brewed coffee, we recommend you brew only as much as you will drink in one sitting.

How Much Coffee Grounds To Use

The amount of grounds to use for a milk brew is a difficult thing to master. Milk is not water, so you may not obtain the desired flavor by applying the same quantity of grounds as you would with a water-based brew.

Also, remember that different types of milk and different levels of fat will play a crucial role in how the brew finally turns out. In conclusion, picking and measuring the coffee grounds amount to use is a trial-and-error task.

Milk tends to reduce a lot of the coffee bitterness and flavor. If you want to preserve coffee flavor, it is best to use a dark or even espresso roast. Double up your standard amount of coffee grounds. Be careful with this selection if you are sensitive to caffeine.

While this is quite ambiguous, we believe it’s better to use a darker roast. It helps bring out the flavor and offers less caffeine. Light roasted beans carry more caffeine than darker roasted beans.

While you are applying more grounds, you can opt for a dark brew. Then you will not need to worry about your coffee being overly caffeinated but still carrying a strong flavor.

Cold Brewing Coffee With Milk Explained

cold brew with milk instead of water

Cold brew coffee, a simple-to-brew summer savior. It has gained popularity in recent years. Traditionally brewed with coarsely ground coffee in water for up to 24 hours. There are various ways to enjoy cold brew coffee. Poured over ice, warmed up, or with a dash of milk or two.

So, someone who is a cold brew enthusiast can now go one step over “can you make coffee with milk instead of water?” and ask if it’s possible to do a cold milk-brewed coffee. Absolutely! Swap the water for milk in your cold brew. It will end up with a nuttier and creamier coffee.

While the basic steps of cold brewing remain unchanged in this case, there are a few factors you’ll need to keep in check. Key factors such as brewing time/length and temperature control. These are the subjects that will be tweaked when making cold brew coffee with milk.

The Theory Of Milk-Based Cold Brew

  • During the brewing process, there are 2 parts of the coffee that will always get extracted. One is the hydrophilic parts – i.e. the caffeine. Two, the high notes. The notes get extracted quickly in a brewing process
  • In cold water, the hydrophobic parts, the bitter notes, and the oils take a much longer time to break down. That’s why brewing takes up to 24 hours
  • Naturally, milk works differently from water because it contains fat. Fat breaks down the hydrophobic elements way more quickly inside the coffee beans. So if you leave a milk-brewed coffee for a whole 24 hours, you’ll end up with something excruciatingly bitter
  • So, the solution is, you have to brew coffee for around 8 – 10 hours

The Aftermath

Leave the cold brewing milk in the fridge for about 8 hours. By this point, it will become an appealing caramel-colored with an incredible smell. If you feel the flavor isn’t quite as intense as water brewed, then brew it for a little longer.  However, you should halt if the milk is creamy and rich.

The taste will be more subtle and nutty. Also, it will linger for longer inside your mouth. It will be more bitter but will be balanced out by the milk. So, chin up, it’s not unpleasant.

So, can you brew coffee with milk? Yes! And can this method also be applicable to cold brewing? Yes on that too! As an avid coffee lover, we recommend that you should stick to the traditional method (water-brew) of cold brewing. Because the extra intensity you get from it is more precious. But if you like a milkier take on your coffee, sure, we recommend you try it this way.

Note: this milk brew can also be a fantastic base for your Dalgona, Frappe, Ice Cream, or Mocha.

Brew Methods – Let’s Take A Look

Drip Machine

An ABSOLUTE NO. Unless you just hate your drip machine and want to destroy it. Adding whole milk to the water tank is a guarantee to ruin your machine. The milk will get burned and will end up costing the machine a nasty, burnt layer of milk.

Moka Pot

ANOTHER NO. Don’t add milk to a stovetop espresso machine. It’s a sure way to ruin the pot. Also, it depends on boiling the liquid to brew coffee. If you love your Moka pot coffee we absolutely recommend brewing regular coffee in it. Then top it off with creamer or steamed milk.


AGAIN, NO! Do not put milk in your percolator. This is another brewing method that heats up the liquid to a high temperature. So, if you feel like your percolator-made coffee lacks calcium, just do yourself a favor and add the milk after the brew.

Pour Over

A pour-over coffee machine depends on its setup. Paper filters can get clogged with the fats from the milk. Also, it will form a sludgy mess. Some pour-over machines come with a reusable mesh coffee filter. It works better with thicker liquids such as milk. You will have to increase the number of grounds you use when brewing with milk.

Pour-over brewing is a potential option to substitute the water with milk. But beware of the mesh filter which can be a real pain to get cleaned afterward.

French Press

YES! The French press is a great way if you need to brew coffee with milk! You’ll never end up with a strong coffee though. And it doesn’t matter how many coffee beans you’ve added. But most likely, you’ll end up with a creamy drink. Just like the pour-over, a French press filter can get damaged too, if not cleaned properly after each milk brew.

Cold Brew

YES! An UNORTHODOX RECOMMENDATION, but DO IT! With the coffee milk brew, cold brew is a good way to get experimental.

We’d recommend a medium to dark roast to guarantee coffee flavor. This range is good enough to cut through the milky richness.

Add coarsely ground coffee at a coffee-to-milk ratio of 1:4. Use a mason jar – it’s easy to clean. The coffee can be poured straight from the grinder. You can also steep it inside a milk or coffee bag if you like.

Give the brew 6 – 8 hours (it can be longer depending on your taste) in the fridge. Let it fully mature. Then strain away from the coffee with cheesecloth or anything similar.

Instant Coffee

SIMPLY, YES! You will not find this at any coffee shops but it does work, to be honest. And it actually gives a super simple, milky coffee. Make sure to warm the milk to around 150°F (88°C). Stir in the instant coffee and enjoy!


Is Nescafe Real Coffee?

Yes. Nescafé is a coffee brand by Nestlé. It comes in various forms. Nestlé first introduced this coffee brand in Switzerland on, the 1st of April, 1938.

Why Is Instant Coffee Bad For You?

Well, it’s not. Instant coffee carries slightly less caffeine. It has more acrylamide than regular coffee. But has most of the same antioxidants. Overall, instant coffee is a healthy, low-calorie option. And it has the same health benefits as any other type of coffee.

Black Coffee Or Coffee With Milk – Which One Is Healthier?

There are pros and cons associated with drinking coffee black. It depends on the type of person and level of tolerance too. On the other hand, Health Experts suggested that adding semi-skimmed milk or a similar substitute to coffee is better. Because whole milk is fattening and has a high carbohydrate count. So, the time of the day, amount, and coffee types (milked or black) are all dependent on you and your health.

What Is The Healthiest Coffee?

Arabica dark roast. It is the healthiest coffee. Because it offers limited caffeine without drinking decaf. Blonde Robusta, falls on the opposite spectrum. It will give you the biggest kick.

Final Thoughts

It’s a commonality for coffee lovers out there to enjoy milk with their brew. An easy way to balance bitterness and richness.

Coffee is very rich and intense with bitterness and acidity. The sugars and thick fats in milk balance out these notes. Great way to make a smoother tasting and gentler on-stomach type of coffee. Soy, coconut, oat, almond, and other non-dairy types of milk can also be used here.

So, can you make coffee with milk? Yes, go ahead and brew it. Just don’t burn it. Follow our Brew Methods (aforementioned) to avoid ruining your coffee machine in the process.

It’s not a barista’s skill to use milk instead of water. Just a way to enjoy your coffee but there is no shame in it. Sit back, relax, and sip that creamy java!

Enjoy Your Coffee!

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